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The Brush Bribe: Convincing your Little Ones to Practice Good Oral Hygiene This Summer

Research we did last summer suggested that children consume 5X as much sugar during the summer holidays than they do during term time with a fifth of parents admitting their child’s oral health also declines in the holidays. Kids can be a tough crowd, we know. With all the excitement of the summer holidays even the routine tasks can become a chore or long forgotten. We want to help you make sure your kid’s teeth are gleaming all year round with these fun games to make cleaning their teeth more fun than glum.
  • Toothsavers If you’re struggling to get your children motivated to even start brushing, this could be the app for you. Toothsavers is a game that gives the player 2 minutes to clean a fairy-tale character’s teeth, getting your child into the two-minute routine and showing them the importance of brushing their own teeth. With twice daily brushing they will unlock new characters to clean and as a parent you can even set designated daily brushing times and monitor your child’s progress all within the app.
  • Timed applications such as Brush DJ or Aquafresh Brush Time are ideal for keeping your kids distracted, two minutes can feel like a long time when you’re tired or over-excited. Brush DJ allows your child to pick what song they would like either from your library or the Brush DJ free music then plays for two minutes while providing advice for the best brushing techniques. For younger children, the Aquafresh app is a bit more visually stimulating and interactive with the ability to pick your character, song, scenery and dance moves. They even provide short, informative videos for your children on the best ways to brush based on the type of toothbrush they have.

For those trying to entice their children away from technology nearer bed time, there’s still plenty you can do!
  • Make it a game, be as creative as you like. For older children/young teenagers try getting some disclosing tablets (available from pharmacy’s or your local mydentist practise) and see who can brush their teeth the best or who has the least coloured stains when used post-brushing. If you don’t feel comfortable using disclosing tablets or if your child is too young, challenge them to try to brush for the full two minutes without stopping or tell a story and the only way to save the day is by brushing.
  • Create a sticker chart as part of the bedtime/wake up routine where your child can earn rewards (ideally not sweets!) for brushing their teeth, washing their face etc. This kind of positive reinforcement can work wonders when they get a little extra pocket money or that toy they’ve been eyeing up all summer.
  • Make your child feel included in the process. Take your child shopping to pick out their own toothbrush from a selection you’ve pointed out. If they feel that sense of joy and ownership that comes with choosing something for themselves, they may be more likely to want to use it. Aquafresh have a variety of age appropriate manual toothbrushes ranging from those for the first signs of baby teeth poking through, all the way up to 12 years old whilst Phillips have a Sonicare electric brush for those aged 3+ that comes with stickers and connects to their brushing app for fun interactive learning and parent monitoring.

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